New York Rangers will not overpay for Jack Eichel this summer

By Anthony Scultore
Jan 28, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) warms up before a game against the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

There is no mystery, especially if you’ve been following my work that the Rangers are planning on going after a big name this summer. Primarily a stud center to take the team to the next level of contention.

Another well known secret is that the Rangers covet and want Jack Eichel. The 24 year-old who played for David Quinn in college would be a perfect fit for the team’s plans going forward.

Jack Eichel’s trade value is all over the place

Right now, fans of the Sabres are adamant that Jack Eichel is going to return a monstrous package. Some in the media have said similar but most of the highly respected analysts in the game today have been clear that the market will set the price.

And right now, if Jack Eichel were to force a trade by going public the market is limited. The criteria is first and foremost having the cap space to assume his $10 million hit and then the assets to execute a fair deal. At this point, that appears to be only the Rangers and Kings.

What is a realistic return for Jack Eichel

jack eichel rangers
Mar 2, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) stretches in warm-ups prior to a game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett-POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

There will be no deal at the deadline, that’s almost certain. Mostly because the Rangers are possibly the only team that would do it and the Sabres aren’t ready to make the move. This will be a summer trade and will certainly have plenty of suitors that will not likely be able to match the Rangers offer.

So what is a realistic return? Well Nick Kypreos said on his Real Kyper at Noon show that people need a “reality check”. Ultimately, Kypreos is spot on as to what the Sabres should expect as a return.

“Honest, I can see draft picks, I can a blue chip prospect or two,” he explained. “I don’t see a boatload for Jack Eichel after six years and character flaws.”

Rangers will make a fair offer, don’t have to overpay

There’s been some talk that Mika Zibanejad would need to be included in a deal to make the money work. Kypreos stated that makes no sense for a team that wants to contend. He called it a “lateral move” and he’s correct.

After speaking with knowledgeable people I believe a fair offer from the Rangers would look something like Vitali Kravtsov, a roster player, a young prospect defenseman (Nils Lundkvist or Braden Schneider excluded), and a first round pick.

If the Sabres can get better than that, so be it. That’s because the Rangers feel that Eichel isn’t the only center that will be available this summer. Names expected to be shopped are Aleksander Barkov, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dylan Larkin, and possibly Sidney Crosby.

So the Rangers are not stuck on Eichel as some believe. He is the top target and Quinn would love to coach him again, but the market will have options. Likely more options for the Rangers than trade partners for the Sabres.

The Blueshirts also have no intention to trade Adam Fox, Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, and to a lesser extent Kaapo Kakko. That’s because John Davidson and Jeff Gorton are looking to win multiple Cups, not just one like in 1994.

If the Kings aren’t willing to part with Quinton Byfield, I don’t see how they can top the Rangers package. As many people have said this year, Jack Eichel is going to end up a Ranger, it’s just a matter of when.